Prague, May 5, 2020* – June 20, 2021, http://futuraprague.com
Joey Holder constructed a total environment where one is at once overwhelmed. It was a world of dark fluorescence, enshrouded in ambient bubbling sounds. There were mysterious sea creatures floating in the virtual 3D world of the videos on display. The walls were covered in an overflow of information, which is barely readable and it was its illegibility and vastness that left the impression. The black ropes hanging in the middle of the room provided a spatial element to the otherwise flat displays. The evoked the feeling of anchor ropes submerged from above into the depths of the ocean. The ropes also somehow linked with the mysterious graphical symbols on the floor, another element of the show. Were these anchors? Metaphorical anchors? What did they stand for? One did not know exactly and so a similar effect like standing in front of some illegible Mayan or Egyptian script engraved in stone emerged.
This type of artwork runs a bit into the danger of coming across as a kitsch, as over-the-top. I was reminded of Reon Argondian´s cavern on the slopes of the Petrin Hill in Prague. However, I think Holder mastered the balance. The main method being to stay bastract and foggy enough, so that visitors can read their own stories into the artwork. The accompanying text by Boris Ondreicka chose a similar strategy: Instead of talking about the work itself, if submerged the reader in a sea of academic references that more obscured more then they explained. That complemented the artwork well. The ambient soundscape was also crucial in shaping the overall impression of the artwork. It was aquatic and slightly dark, but not too dark. It matched well.
A deep dive into the artist´s unconsciousness? Into one´s own? Into the history and biological origins of the living species? Into a place of eternal darkness that nevertheless gives birth to everything that we see in the light? A neon-lit chill out room of a psytrance dance party? A gothic-style dolphin show? Something like that.
*) I believe the exhibition started on May 5, 2021, however, the Futura website lists 2020 as the exhibition start date.